The Clemson Tigers find vindication with Orange Bowl win.


For all the 30+ wins Clemson has had the last 3 years, the wins over the Auburns, LSUs, and Georgias, the Tigers still had a perception problem. While I personally think Clemsoning is a dead term, it still comes up in the media.

There were still the losses to South Carolina. There was the blowout to Florida State this year. Just exactly where was this program? I think we can safely say after the Tiger’s 40-35 Orange Bowl win over Ohio State, while not quite a national championship caliber program, they are in the next group of 5-8 schools solidly just outside your top 2 or 3 teams in a given year.

That means Clemson has become a top 12 program. That’s vindication for a program so many have questioned so often. QB Tajh Boyd was moments from a legacy defining interception, oh how that changes now. Going winless against South Carolina can’t be overlooked, but as part of Dabo Swinney’s first recruiting class, he led a 4th quarter comeback against LSU in the Chick Fil A Bowl. He outdueled Aaron Murray and Georgia, and he led Clemson to their first ever BCS win.

Consider that prior to 2012, the ACC had a 2-13 BCS record, these things haven’t been easy for ACC teams to win. His legacy now, is of a quarterback that brought the Clemson program back to prominence.

What I also gathered from this Orange Bowl is that Clemson was the athletically superior team to Ohio State. Sammy Watkins was the best athlete on the field. The Tigers made a lot of mistakes, but it further proved unmistakably how Dabo Swinney has elevated the the Tiger program.

Next year may be a bit of a rebuilding one for Clemson. You can’t lose players like Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins and expect there won’t be a drop off. There are also road games at Georgia and Florida State, but this a program on strong footing. While next season might be more of the 9-4 variety, the Clemson program will be just fine.

Obviously for the ACC this is a good win. The ACC is now the only Power 5 conference to not lose a BCS game the last 2 years. Now standing at 4-6 in bowls, but with a BCS win is huge for ACC. When Clemson lost 51-14 to FSU it never changed my opinion that the Tigers were a solid team. They had done to much, and tonight is just more of  an illustration of that. What that FSU/Clemson game did convince me of was that Florida State was scary scary good.

I expect Florida State to win the National Championship Monday, and put a final stamp on to one of the ACC’s best football years ever.

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